right-wing authoritarian (RWA) test

(note: the sunday linkfest shall appear tomorrow [if all goes as planned!]. i feel like we just had a linkfest, since last week’s didn’t happen until wednesday. oops.)

here’s an online right-wing authoritarian (RWA) test for you to try out. i have NO idea how valid it is, or if it even resembles altemeyer’s RWA test. my suspicion is that it’s an older version of the test, but i really don’t know. it’s just an okcupid quiz, so i wouldn’t put a whole lot of weight on it. (~_^)

make sure to follow the instructions re. if you only agree with part of a statement!

i took the quiz last week before i read the chapters in avi tuschman‘s Our Political Nature that include material on the RWA — didn’t want to bias myself. here are my results:

altemeyer authoritarian test results

don’t know if my score is particularly high or not. it’s certainly higher than most of the folks over @the democratic underground who took the quiz. not a surprise. (^_^) note that this percentage score does not resemble altemeyer’s scale, so i don’t think there’s any way to compare your scores on this little quiz to any actual academic study. oh well.

more importantly…how much of a northerner are you…?

previously: our political nature and authoritarianism

(note: comments do not require an email. authoritarian states.)

28 Comments

  1. “You scored 61% on Authoritarian, higher than 91% of your peers.”

    Jeez. I wonder what Hitler and Mussolini would score.

    Can’t control sudden urge to type “Sie”… can’t stop it! “Sssieg” … to type “Sieg Heil!”

    My responses were extremely mild. A lot of 1s and -1s. They mostly hovered around the tension between preserving what has worked in the past while allowing room for social progress, AND stamping myself as a conservative agnostic with a sense of wonder.

    But now I feel the need to sing the Horst-Wessel song and join the English Defence League.

    Reply

  2. @charles – “But now I feel the need to sing the Horst-Wessel song and join the English Defence League.”

    heh! (^_^)

    (well, we’ve got some real high-scorers on twitter: here and here and here for example. (^_^) )

    Reply

  3. I expected this test to be moronic, but I didn’t expect it to be as moronic as It actually is.
    Obviously it is not a test of innate propensities but is entirely contingent upon the extant state of society.

    “This country would work a lot better if certain groups of troublemakers would just shut up and accept their group’s traditional place in society.”

    Replace “traditional” with “new” and you have a perfect encapsulation of the attitudes of, say, Tim Wise.

    “Homosexuals and feminists should be praised for being brave enough to defy “traditional family values”.”

    How many on the left would agree with the statement: “Supporters of tradtional family values should be praised for being brave enough to defy feminists and homosexuals.”?

    “Our country will be great if we honor the ways of our forefathers, do what the authorities tell us to do, and get rid of the “rotten apples” who are ruining everything.”

    But the authorities demonise my forefathers and teach me to despise them, certainly not to honour them. So this question is contradictory.

    “There are many radical, immoral people in our country today, who are trying to ruin it for their own godless purposes, whom the authorities should put out of action.”

    Why would the authorities put themselves out of action? Moreover, I am not opposed to the immoral people who are ruining our countries because they are “godless”. I too am godless.

    etc.

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  4. Yeah, I struggled a bit with each question for those reasons. But with updated questions the test might be crudely valid.

    When I took the test I unconcsiously assumed the results would form a normal distribution, but it appears to be a Pareto distribution.

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  5. @harold – “Obviously it is not a test of innate propensities but is entirely contingent upon the extant state of society.”

    wait ’til you hear about altemeyer’s left-wing authoritarian test. here’s what he thinks characterizes left-wing authoritarians (he’s really stuck in the ’60s):

    “By ‘left-wing authoritarianism’ I thus mean the covariation of three attitudinal clusters, which may be vaguely familiar:

    1. Authoritarian submission — a high degree of submission to authorities who are dedicated to *overthrowing* the established authorities in one’s society.

    2. Authoritarian aggression — a general aggressiveness directed against the established authorities, or against persons who are perceived to support those authorities.

    3. Conventionalism — a high degree of adherence to the norms of behavior perceived to be endoresed by the revolutionary authorities.”

    Reply

  6. I ended up with 70%, but the test was moronic as noted above; since the leitkultur itself is corrupt and destructive, there was no way to answer questions about “supporting the authorities and shutting up the bad people” when the bad people are in authority! I think my actual views are iconoclastic and anti-authoritarian; I end up with a high score because I oppose the ‘transvaluation of all values’ anti-legitimate-authority existing authorities’ ideology…

    Reply

  7. My understanding of Bob Altemeyers work is not that’s trying to formulate a theory of personality that covers everyone and everything. He’s specifically interested people who are driven to conform and dislike people who are weird or different. He wanted to know why people are that way, and how many of them there are.

    I think what’s interesting about seeing Bob’s work come up at this blog is that we can maybe meld the two ideas… We can think about how one can be slavishly universal in one’s thinking so that obviously everyone is the same and therefore we should never even consider the idea that one group might be imprisoned more because they are more prone to criminal behavior. Just like we can have slavish devotion to the idea that some are better than others, so every person of X color you see must be a moron who’s going to steal everything you have if you give them half a chance.

    The wild card might just be intelligence. Intelligent people get nuance, they know to look past the simple heuristics that regular folks use from day to day, whether it’s the universal thinker’s: “everyone is the same, so I’ll treat them all the same!” or the non universal thinker’s “my people are better, so I’ll be suspicious of all others”. I honestly don’t know if there is a mental middle ground between these two positions. What I find myself doing is living the universalist way I was born to while also consciously injecting some HBD realism into my life.

    Basically I look at Bob Altemeyer like I do most academics: He’s seeing the world through his own universalist left wing point of view. I’m sure in his mind, if only we didn’t have that 30% of RWA people who don’t think like he does (or at least are willing to admit that on a test), then maybe everyone would get along and politics would be perfect. It’s like saying that racists are the cause of racism, rather than a symptom of the reality of HBD.

    Incidentally, I scored a 7.

    ~S

    Reply

  8. My fear is that this kind of research will be used to paint non-Progressive speech and activity with the brush of “mental illness”.

    Reply

  9. @Simon in London
    I scored more and, actually, I distrust authorities. Harold summarized it well, I strongly disagree with current state of affairs.

    Reply

  10. @sisyphean – “I think what’s interesting about seeing Bob’s work come up at this blog is that we can maybe meld the two ideas…”

    yes, THAT would be interesting.

    i could believe — in fact, i do believe — that some people have more authoritarian personalities than others and that they, therefore, are more prone to slavishly follow those in authority. but i’m really not convinced that authoritarianism only — or even mostly — applies to conservatives/right-wingers. certain types of conservative/right-wingers, no doubt, bow to authority, but i think it’s pretty clear that so do people on the left, but perhaps in a different way(s). (everything i said here applies just to westerners.)

    having said all that, it also appears that there are differences between authoritarian groups in different populations. the research i pointed to in my previous post suggests that left-wing authoritarianism is very strong in many parts of eastern europe — in a way that you don’t find in western europeans. oops! human biodiversity! (maybe/prolly.)

    dunno. it just seems to me that altemeyer’s classifications are over-simplified — almost caricatures of what a 60s generation person imagines right- and left-wingers to be like. as you said:

    “He’s seeing the world through his own universalist left wing point of view.”

    @sisyphean – “Incidentally, I scored a 7.”

    wheee! (^_^) i think you’re probably going to win the prize for the lowest score in these parts. (~_^) (not that there’s anything wrong with that!)

    Reply

  11. I’m 27%. (almost the exact same score as you got) I wrote a review of Tuschman’s book on Amazon. I’ll add this factoid to that review – even though I’m underwhelmed by this particular test.

    First I should finish the book. I bought the Kindle edition and I had to put it down yesterday when I ran out of battery power. I gave the book a very bad review but five stars. It’s like Jarred Diamond books. Everyone should read them but no one should believe them.

    I presume that this is the real Right Wing Authoritarian test. It has Altemeyer’s name on it and I recognize some of the same questions from Tuschman’s book. You have to remember that this is supposed to be a modern updating of the California F-Test. It’s purpose is not so much to map an attribute in a property space as it is to unearth those hidden fascists lurking undercover. It seems a bit naïve. Any reasonably sophisticated test taker could create any sort of outcome they wanted. I tried to be honest but since I don’t hanker for a ‘man on horseback’ to ride in and clean everything up, I had no trouble honestly reacting to these rather crude statements.

    Tuschman’s book seems to fly under false colors. It is well written and is loaded with anecdotes but it is rather light in its methodology. The main method is just a list of correlations. Surely we can expect more today. I expected a list of SNPs or plates from fMRIs. I expected something with more Darwin, genetics and brain scans. Rather than this silly RWA test I expected reports from those who had filmed the excitation maps of the frontal lobes of Republicans (or some such).

    Tuschman seems to be trying merely to demonstrate that conservatives are the bad guys.

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  12. @patrick – “I wrote a review of Tuschman’s book on Amazon.”

    that was a great review! (here it is, everybody.)

    i reacted in pretty much the same way as you to a lot of the same things as you. this, for example, that you said in your review:

    “For example he points out that conservatives can be considered racists because they tend to agree with a list of opinions about blacks. One of the statements is ‘Blacks are more violent’. No doubt a lot – maybe all – conservatives would agree with that. But the unacknowledged problem is that it is objectively true that blacks are more violent. This kind of analysis shows his bias as well as the limitations of his methodology. Since blacks are incontrovertibly more violent in the FBI crime statistics does this tell us something about Republicans?”

    exactly. there’s a question on the RWA that i reacted to that’s obviously meant to draw out a closed-minded racist — i don’t remember the wording exactly, but it was something like: “Some groups (races?) are more intelligent than others, and are therefore superior.” (that’s probably not the correct wording.)

    two things there: 1) yes, some groups ARE more intelligent than others ON AVERAGE, so that’s just a fact (and knowing that fact shouldn’t make one waaaaycist), and 2) superior? superior how? superior in (average) intelligence? well, yes — if one group has a higher average iq than another, then that group is superior in its average intelligence. that’s what superior means. or do they mean “superior” in some moral or ethical or metaphysical sort of way? in which case the answer would be no (although i’m sure the point could be — would be — argued).

    the RWA really gets sillier and sillier in my view with every passing moment. =/

    it would be soooo interesting to actually research authoritarian personalities and what effect(s) they have on political orientations. i don’t think altemeyer (and, in many way, not tuschman, either) has achieved that.

    @patrick – “Tuschman seems to be trying merely to demonstrate that conservatives are the bad guys.”

    yes. i think you’re right.

    Reply

  13. Score = dunno, since I wouldn’t fill out the info at the end…which they force you into doing before you see a score; something authoritarian/controlling people would do. (They also also asked “gender” in one place, tho “sex” in another, which tells me they’re PC propagandists.) Also dunno why you called it a “right-wing authoritarian (RWA) test” since self-described “progressives” love to, e.g., “silence the troublemakers spreading bad ideas”. The “established authorities” are typically some noxious mixture of clown and shyster as far as I’m concerned.

    Reply

  14. hbd*chick — I’m a new reader. Thanks for your excellent website. Definitely wordpress worth reading (for a change).

    @Sisyphean, who wrote: The wild card might just be intelligence. Intelligent people get nuance, they know to look past the simple heuristics that regular folks use from day to day, […] [my ellipsis]

    High intelligence (in the Weschler sense of high intelligence) is not necessarily a useful metric for determining a person’s explicit tendencies towards authoritarianism. There are a good number of 130+ IQ persons who become religious fundamentalists and authoritarians. Often high-IQ persons often become members of a fundamentalist sect not necessarily because they believe wholeheartedly in the group’s doctrines. Rather, the high-IQ person uses religious authoritarianism as a cover for personal inadequacies or existential crises. I joined up with the fundies because I came from a family which couldn’t accept that I was gay (this is a very common situation, sadly). Religious fundamentalism become my cover for personal emotional turmoil, even if on another cognitive level I harbored great skepticism towards the sect’s tenets.

    I scored 8%, probably because I’m still self-deprogramming from my cult experience.

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  15. Well my Kindle has recharged enough for me to read a bit more of Tuschman’s book. It is maybe the silliest book I’ve read since ‘1423’ the book that explained how the Chinese circumnavigated Antarctica and every other place in the fifteenth century.

    Tuschman is a crank.

    For example thinks that conservatives associate feminism with communism and cites as evidence the fifties giant ant horror movie ‘Them’. I saw this movie when it first came out . It scared the hell out of me. I was just a kid so I foolishly thought it was a cautionary tale about nuclear weapons. I probably thought that because they kept saying that the ants were mutants caused by atomic weapons testing. Finally now I learn the truth thanks to Tuschman. The movie was really about feminism and how feminism leads to communism. Apparently Hollywood was controlled by right wingers then. Who knew? These conservative fiends chose ants because ant colonies have a queen, So they were warning not about nuclear threats but about the danger of having women in positions of power.

    Tuschman follows that up with an even wackier interpretation of a Dave Barry joke. Barry once wrote that Blue Staters (Democrats) rode around in Volvos. Get it? Do you see the feminism communism connection?

    Tuschman points out that the name Volvo sounds like a female body part and Volvos are made in a socialist country. I have to admit I didn’t see that particular connection either. I probably missed the communism part because Volvo was bought by Ford a while back and I associate Ford with capitalism. As to the name of the car being sexual? Even Freud would laugh at that one. A cigar is, on occasion, just a cigar. Wikipedia tells me that Volvo means ‘I roll’ in Latin. But of course Wikipedia could just be trying to cover up the feminism communism angle.

    Reply

  16. Volvos are made in a socialist country? At least he got that one right! ;)

    Good book review, by the way. And it’s nice to see another “war nerd” in here. I have a lot of those Osprey books too!

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  17. @ Patrick –
    “..conservatives associate feminism with communism ..”

    The claim isn’t entirely far-fetched, at least in the case of the Eurocommunists:

    “Eurocommunist parties expressed their fidelity to democratic institutions more clearly than before and attempted to widen their appeal by embracing public sector middle-class workers, new social movements such as feminism and gay liberation”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eurocommunism

    ‘Eurocommunism’ is clearly a softer, cuddlier and more hippy-friendly version of communism designed to suit the more outbred western Europeans, as opposed to the hardline, authoritarian communism of eastern Europe (east of the ‘Hajnal line’).

    “What is Eurocommunism?”

    http://www.marxists.org/reference/subject/philosophy/works/it/eurocommunism.htm#azcarate

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  18. @fernandinande – “Score = dunno, since I wouldn’t fill out the info at the end…which they force you into doing before you see a score….”

    oh, now, see?! THIS is a true anti-authoritarian! (^_^) well done!

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  19. @jordan – “Thanks for your excellent website. Definitely wordpress worth reading (for a change).”

    thanks very much for saying so! (^_^) glad you enjoy it/find it interesting (hopefully useful?)!

    Reply

  20. @patrick – “Tuschman points out that the name Volvo sounds like a female body part and Volvos are made in a socialist country. I have to admit I didn’t see that particular connection either. I probably missed the communism part because Volvo was bought by Ford a while back and I associate Ford with capitalism. As to the name of the car being sexual? Even Freud would laugh at that one. A cigar is, on occasion, just a cigar. Wikipedia tells me that Volvo means ‘I roll’ in Latin. But of course Wikipedia could just be trying to cover up the feminism communism angle.”

    thank you for looking that up! i was going to, but i just haven’t had (made!) the time. i thought his “sounds like a female body part” seemed kinda questionable.

    i tweeted tuschman a little correction re. thilo sarrazin’s surname. tuschman assumed in his book (like many people did a couple of years ago when sarrazin’s book came out) that the name means that one of thilo’s ancestors must’ve been a muslim (a “saracen”). i looked up the name back at the time (another ten second google search) and discovered that “sarrazin” can refer to someone who fought in the crusades.

    tuschman is quite sloppy like that in a lot of places.

    Reply

  21. 35%, but I answered a lot of questions with zero, if I felt they were assuming obeying existing authorities made one authoritarian. Also, it refused over and over to accept my city name outside the US (and made me type the numbers in again) so I gave a zip code of “12345”, wherever that is.

    Reply

  22. I scored 35, amusing to note the feedback stated that I was not a church goer. I am a member of our local Methodist church but that is to give my young son an appreciation of Christian values and because my wife is a fairly staunch Methodist. As for me, I am more agnostic than atheist. But they do say the family that prays together stays together.

    Reply

  23. I abjure my comments on this website and thread (one comment overall). I have been credulous and naive about the racialist undertones of this website. In fact, I used IQ in an example erroneously (IQ measures nothing). I do not find this website useful. It was wrong for me to assign praise where praise is not warranted. I apologize to anyone who has been misled by what I have written here.

    Reply

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